Alcohol Abuse among College Students

Alcohol abuse among college students is a core challenge affecting education institutions across the United States. For instance, studies presented in the subsequent review indicate that alcohol abuse among college students is higher than that of the overall adult population in the U.S. Such alcohol abuse is noted to be higher among students attending college on a full time basis compared to part-time college students, non-college students (those at lower grades) and non-students (those not at school) of comparable ages. Risk factors for abuse of alcohol noted by the reviewed studies include college climate (e.g. proportion of student’s from Greek affiliations and proportion of male students), individual characteristics (e.g. gender, age and race) and family environment (e.g. history of alcoholism in the family and socioeconomic status). Outcomes of alcohol abuse as presented in reviewed literature are largely negative, including engagement in other health risk behaviors (such as unprotected sex and multiple drug abuse) and other behaviors presenting high adverse outcomes such as gambling. Treatment approaches involve counseling sessions targeted at peer groups, but the effectiveness of such sessions are influenced by aspects such as family support, individual readiness to stop drinking and financial costs associated with such services.


To find articles for the literature review, I conducted an online search through various databases offered through the library. I focused my search on three databases – Academic search complete, Science Direct and Sage Journals Online. I also scanned the reference section of the initial articles obtained through the databases to find other articles that offered a different position with regard to the topic under assessment. Moreover, I searched for relevant reports from government authorities especially the reports specific to college alcohol abuse. For the search on the databases, I used keywords such as “Alcohol Abuse”, “Binge Drinking”, “College Students”, “College” and “Tennessee.” I combined the search terms using various Boolean operators (e.g. AND, OR, and NOT), and limited the search terms to various sections of the articles (e.g. title, and abstract) to increase the relevance of my search.

The search from the databases returned quite a number of articles. For instance, the search on Science direct returned more than 700 articles, while Sage Journal’s Online returned more than 500 articles. To narrow down the articles, I considered the articles that presented primary evaluation on the topic and systematic literature reviews, leaving out the opinion pieces or viewpoints. From these articles, I selected articles for review based on various themes that I had identified by reading some of the initial articles that I retrieved from the databases. The discussion presented on the findings section highlight the evidence presented in the articles selected from the databases and one report from a government agency. I have also referred to studies evaluating the validity and reliability of some of the tools used for data collection in most of the studies reviewed.

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